Getting a Tegu: Is It The Right Decision?

Tegu walk

Since a young age, reptiles fascinated me, and I wanted to have them as pets!!

My parents refused, and there was no way I could bring any of them home! Since I moved out of my parents’ home and started living on my own, I have owned many reptiles and even a couple of snakes! I love these beauties and none more so than the Tegu lizard! 

To own a Tegu is to have a companion who will have your heart and give you lots of joy! If you think you are ready to own a Tegu, then read the information presented here and then decide. It is crucial to make sure that you only offer the best to your pet.

First, let us understand these lizards a little bit better. The Tegu lizards are most common in Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and some other South American countries. They like to live in meadows and grassy lands. They spend most of their time alternating between eating, basking, and burrowing. These are giant and strong lizards and can grow up to 5 feet in length and can weigh between 20 and 25 pounds. 

Before You Choose a Tegu!

Unlike most other reptiles, a tegu will look at you when you talk to it! It is an intelligent and curious animal. It will follow you and your activities and try to interact with you. It is one of the main reasons why people love having these as pets. You should know that these grow up to be giant lizards.

 Many people make the mistake of looking at a young hatchling and thinking that it will remain the same size. It is also the reason for many people to abandon their lizards when they find it challenging to manage the growing lizard. Tegus love to be in your company and like it if you take them out of the enclosure to be with you!



Tegus are giant reptiles and can grow up to a length of 5 feet or more. The females are between 3 and 4 feet, and males are between 4 ½ and 5 feet long. Females weigh about 8 pounds, and males weigh about 10 to 12 pounds. It is only the average, and there are tegus which can weigh much more. 

Essential Things to Keep in Mind


These lizards are giant and are most comfortable on the ground. You will need a big cabinet to keep it happy. For an adult tegu, you should have a tank or cage with the dimensions as 3 by 4 by 8 would be ideal. They don’t need much height but need the area to roam freely. 

Heat & Light

Like most reptiles, tegus also like to alternate between hot and cool spots. One end should have the basking spot, and light fixtures for the heat and the other end should have the cool spot.

Reptiles need the heat to be active and to digest their meals. The right temperature could be between 90 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit at the hotspot and about 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit at the cool end. You should turn off the lights at night, and the ambient temperature should be about 70 degrees. 


Wheat straw is the most readily available and the cheapest as well. Spread the straw and make it a thick layer of about 6 inches. Don’t use pine or cedar as these can be toxic. Keep the straw moist but not soaking wet.


Tegus love to hide or hibernate in winters and at nights. Your pet will be happy if you can provide a beautiful, dark, and moist place for it just to chill!! Use a suitable substrate and keep it moist. It will keep the humidity high, which is essential for your pet to shed properly.

Tegu forst

What Should You Feed Your Tegu?

They are omnivores and eat almost anything they can when in the wild. In captivity also you should feed them a well-balanced meal. It should be a combination of protein, fruits, and vegetables. You can give a variety of meat like ground chicken, turkey, fish as well as frozen mice occasionally. Insects of all kinds like mealworms, silkworms, crickets are also edible. Ensure that all food is appropriate in size.

 Add calcium and vitamins as per requirement. All berries like strawberries, blueberries, etc., mangoes; bananas are all good fruits for your tegu. Greens and vegetables like carrots, cauliflower are all excellent choices. You need to offer a varied diet to ensure good health for your pet. Keep fresh water every day. Clean the bowl daily. 

How to Train your Tegu?

Like dogs, all the communication with your Tegu will depend mainly on its eyes! Just by observing your Tegu’s eyes, you will be able to tell if it is hungry, sad, scared, or angry! Initially, it may take some time because they are afraid of you as well as their new surroundings. Desist from handling them too much initially. Slowly you will see a change in its behavior, and you will start to gain its trust. The eyes will tell you that your pet is getting more comfortable. 

After a few days, you can start to hold your tegu. Hold firmly but not very tightly. Don’t put too much pressure on its body. Slowly and gently stroke its back and talk in a soft voice. Once it is calm and looks comfortable, lightly put it back in the enclosure. It will train your pet to be composed to go back to its enclosure. 

Over the next few days, increase this time, and you will notice that your tegu is happy to be with you. Remember that tegus also have individual personalities. Some are shy, and some are friendly. You can cuddle some while some want to sit on your head! 


If you have decided to get a Tegu, then you have to make an effort to care for it in the best way. You will have to dedicate time and money to keep it in good health. on average, tegus live for about 12 to 16 years, but with reasonable care and proper diet, they can live up to 20 years. They like interacting with people, and you should be ready to spend time with them

If you are sure that you can fulfill all these needs, then you are prepared to get a Tegu. You can be assured of some great times with this fantastic companion!!

Was this article helpful?